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Judges slide into eight-game losing streak

By Gordy Stillman

Section: Sports

October 7, 2011

During the last two weeks the Brandeis Volleyball team has slid by with a 0-6 record, extending their streak to eight losses. While losing matches can be demoralizing, they show some good signs.

Two weeks ago on Sept. 23 the Judges lost to Amherst College in the opening match of the Amherst Classic. The Judges started off on offense, with a 2-0 lead, but Amherst went on a spree with nine consecutive points on their way to a 25-15 win. The second match went similarly, starting with a 2-0 lead for the Judges. The Judges amassed a 9-8 lead before the Lord Jeffs rallied again to take a 25-13 win. In the third and final set, the Judges rallied to a close match. After falling to a 9-6 deficit, the Judges fought back to a 17-all tie after a timeout by Amherst. The time-out didn’t end the Judges rally, taking an 18-17 lead off of an Amherst error. Amherst edged out a win of 25-22 with a few key blocks followed by kills.

The final two matches of the Amherst Classic didn’t go any better due to two straight losses. Brandeis fell to Coast Guard and Middlebury in straight sets: 25-18, 25-9 and 25-17; and 25-10, 25-20 and 25-21, respectively.

Against the Coast Guard Bears, Brandeis outside hitters Liz Hood ’15 and Si-Si Hensley ’14 led the Judge’s offensive attack recording seven and five kills respectively. Yael Einhorn ’14 led the team with 13 assists while Elsie Bernaiche ’15 and Susan Sun ’13 combined for 23 digs in the loss.

Against Middlebury, Einhorn again led the team in assists recording 20, a match high. Hood tallied eight kills and six digs while middle blocker Becca Fischer ’13 had five kills and three blocks. Bernaiche led the Judges with 12 digs for the match.

During the extended weekend the team traveled to St. Louis to participate in the first University Athletic Association Round Robin series of the season. While they didn’t win their matches against NYU, Washington University or Carnegie Mellon, it was a good learning experience. Captain Einhorn commented, “The teams we played in the UAA are nationally ranked. … By playing them we can only improve.”

In the first match the Judges fought hard against NYU. While they lost the set 3-0, the match started off close with 25-22 and 25-20 losses. The third set was less of a nail-biter with a final score of 25-13. Hood led the offense with 10 kills while, on defense, Bernaiche led with 15 digs. Einhorn added a double-double with 10 digs and 24 assists. Fischer added three blocks, including one solo block.

In the next match against Washington University, the defending NCAA Division III runners-up and number two team in the nation, the Judges dropped the first two sets 25-12 but rallied in the third to a closer game with a 25-19 loss. The Judges managed 15 kills across the three sets, including six from Hood and four from outside hitter Si-Si Hensley ’14. On defense Bernaiche had 12 digs and Fischer added two solo blocks.

In the final match of the event, the Judges showed that a loss to the number two team isn’t a reason to give up. While it’s easy to lose enthusiasm after a loss, winning a set showed that, in the words of Einhorn, “we were able to overcome our losing streak and pull out some great points.” Against the Carnegie Mellon Tartans, the Judges split the first two sets 25-15 for the Tartans and 25-23 for the Judges. The second two sets went similarly, but the Judges were outscored in the fourth and final set with scores of 25-12 and 25-20 to seal the match 3-1 for the Tartans. Once again Hood and Hensley led the offence with a combined 25 kills—14 for Hood and 11 for Hensley. With 12 digs to her credit in addition to 11 kills, Hensley earned a double-double. While Bernaiche led with 15 digs, Vanessa Bodie ’15, in her first major playing time of the season, was close behind with 13 digs.

As of Wednesday, the Judges stand at 7-10 overall and play next Saturday when they host UAA rival Chicago in the second UAA Round Robin event.

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